How to Clean Oily Rags

When we work on cars and bikes, we usually end up with dirty or oily rags, especially when your daily works require us to work in the garage. This is really very annoying because the oils from the rag become stubborn and won’t go simply. You can neither toss it inside your washing machine to clean it up. So, how do you clean oily rags? Well, there is a specific way to clean the oily rags and make them good as new. If you want to learn that process, you must read this guide until the end. Nothing else, so if you are ready, we can start out.

How to Clean Oily Rags

If you are a handyman, carpenter, or work in any profession where you use cloths made of cotton fabric to clean up messes, then this article is for you. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss how to clean oily rags after absorbing oil from machinery or oily substances.

Some people might think you should throw the rag away after it absorbs oil, but I say not so fast to those individuals. You can actually clean these rags if you follow a few simple steps.

Summary: If your oily rag is making a mess, there are several easy ways to clean it up. You can put it in the washing machine on a cold cycle with detergent, or pour a pot of boiling water onto the rag, and let it sit for a few minutes. Finally, use a cloth or sponge to clean it up.

How To Clean Oily Rags – Steps to Follow

First, you soaked the excess oil with another unused rag or an old towel. Then take a bucket and put some water and soap inside of it. You can also use a degreaser if you have any in your home. Now, clean them properly until you notice the oils are gone completely… Once completed, this process hangs outside for air drying or near a heating source like a furnace or heater as opposed to a dryer (due to fire risks). If you still find oily residue on the fabric, we recommend using baking soda and water to scrub the rag until all the oil is gone.

How To Clean Oily Rags

Next, rinse with cold water, then hang it up outside or beside a cooling vent so that you can remove any excess moisture from the fabric before they get too soggy. You want them to be as dry as possible because that will help prevent mildewing in storage or when hung on your clothesline for reuse.

Precautions to Clean Oily Rags

  • Do not use dryers (they can burn up the rag)
  • Hang outside to air dry or near a heating source like a furnace or heater instead of a dryer.
  • After cleaning, rinse with cold water and then hang them up outside or beside a cooling vent so that you can remove any excess moisture from the fabric before they get too soggy.
Clean Oily Rags

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Benefits of Cleaning Oily Rags

  • Save your clothes from oily on them over time, making stains difficult to clean. The oils left behind will also impart their odor onto everything else in storage nearby if you don’t take care of it promptly! You may even find fibers sticking together by residual oil after some time because of the oil’s adhesive quality.
  • Be proactive about your dry cleaning, which will save you a lot of time and money in the long run!

Things to Avoid

  • Bleach is not recommended for use with oily rags because it can cause them to disintegrate after prolonged exposure. It also has an unpleasant smell that could linger on clothes or other fabrics when used improperly.
  • If you must use bleach, ensure they are covered up so that only one side is exposed while soaking, and keep the solution light enough so as not to break down fibers too quickly. You should never soak oily rags overnight in any type of chemical agent whatsoever; doing this risks damaging both fabric strength and color over time if left untreated due to prolonged exposure.
  • Be sure to hang your rags outside in the sun and wind for a couple of hours before you set them near any heat sources, such as furnace vents or hot water pipes. This will help dry out most of the moisture from the inside, which can also lead to discoloration over time if not dealt with properly.
How To Clean Oily Rags

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Wash Oily Rags in Washing Machine?

Yes, you can wash oily rags in the washing machine. However, it is important to follow the proper instructions to avoid damage to your machine and clothes.

To avoid damage, always remove the labels from the items before putting them in the washer and dryer. Also, be sure to add a small amount of liquid detergent to the washer drum and spin cycle before adding your oily rags.

If you do not want to use liquid detergent, place a layer of baking soda on top of the oily rags before placing them in the washer. Be sure to empty the washer after using it with oily rags so that it does not build up inside.

What Temperature Should You Wash Greasy Clothes?

Most experts recommend washing greasy clothes at a temperature between 30 and 40 degrees Celsius.

Is It Ok To Wash Rags With Car Wax on Them?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question, depending on the specific situation.

If you are using a rag to clean something that will not contact any other surface, such as the inside of your car, then it is ok to wash it with car wax.

If you are using a rag to clean something that will contact other surfaces, such as your floor or countertop, you should not wash it with car wax because it may damage the rag.

Wax May Cause Damage to the Rag

Do You Wash Rags Separately?

Yes, it would help if you washed rags separately to avoid the spread of bacteria and mold. Rags can be washed in the machine with your other laundry or hand-washed in a tub with lukewarm water and mild soap.


You can use a few simple steps to clean oily rags. First, dump the dirty water and rinse any remaining material still in the rag, then fill it with hot soapy water and scrub for about two minutes. Next, you should dry your wet rag by wringing out the excess liquid onto paper towels or using a clothesline outside on a sunny day. If you want to ensure your rags are completely free from oil residue afterward, repeat this process one more time before washing them in cold water and drying them again until they are fully dried! Hopefully, these tips will help you eliminate those dirty, oily rags!

Jennifer Branett
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